Preview: Keys to the Owls’ matchup at home against UTEP

FAU is looking to extend their winning streak at home to 10 (excluding bowl games and the 2019 C-USA championship game).


Logan Agostino

N’Kosi Perry (#7) prepares for the snap in the Shula Bowl against FIU on Oct. 2, 2021.

Bryce Totz, Staff Writer

FAU (4-3, 2-1 C-USA) will return to FAU Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 30. They are scheduled to play the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) (6-1, 3-0 C-USA). 

These two teams have only met twice, with the last meeting occurring in 2016. The Owls won that game 35-31

FAU is scoring 30.9 points per game and allowing 21 points per game. UTEP is averaging 24.9 points and they are conceding 19.3 per game.

According to the stat sheet, FAU should beat the Miners, but the Owls cannot underestimate UTEP.

Here are some keys to the game if FAU wants to get past UTEP on Saturday:


Run the Ball

Despite running the ball 40 times in the victory over Charlotte last week, head coach Willie Taggart was still looking for more, as he said the game plan involved rushing the ball 60 times.

Redshirt sophomore running back Johnny Ford led the team with 92 rushing yards on eight carries, including a burst for a 60-yard touchdown. 

Graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry had the most rushes with 10 for 26 yards.


Win the Turnover Battle

Each week, Taggart asks the defense to get at least three turnovers. The defense earned three turnovers in last week’s win over Charlotte. Senior inside linebacker Caliph Brice recovered a fumble, redshirt senior cornerback Korel Smith had an interception, and redshirt junior safety Ahman Ross got his first career interception. 

UTEP’s sophomore quarterback Gavin Hardison has thrown seven interceptions so far in 2021. The Miners have also lost seven fumbles. They are averaging two turnovers a game and their differential is -2. 


Shut down Sophomore Wide Receiver Jacob Cowing

Cowing already has 775 receiving yards and four touchdowns on 35 catches. He is averaging 22.1 yards per catch and 110.7 yards per game. In UTEP’s last game, Cowing had nine catches for 166 yards, including a 57-yard reception.

His 775 receiving yards are second in C-USA, and ninth-best in NCAA Division I. 

He can also run the ball too, as his lone carry this season went 53 yards to the endzone. 

Cowing is a versatile player that the Owls will have to watch, especially when there are defensive players out with injury.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30 at FAU Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+

Bryce Totz is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected], or tweet him @brycetotz.